It’s funny how one of the most commonly passed down pieces of advice for pregnant women is that you are now eating for two! It’s often one of the first things you may hear a newly pregnant mom say as she struggles to find an explanation for her new found cravings. While it’s true that your second and third trimester will warrant some extra calories to support your baby’s growth, what I like to tell my clients is that pregnancy is really more about eating twice as smart, not twice as much.

What does this even mean? Well for starters, you only really need an extra 340 calories in your second trimester and an extra 450 calories in your third trimester of pregnancy. This is definitely not twice as much. Instead, what this amounts to is about an extra 2-3 Food Guide servings a day…so more like an extra good size snack a day. For example, in your second trimester you could add 2 tbsp of peanut butter on an extra slice of toast for a mid afternoon snack to make up the extra calories, or in your third trimester this could be two medium sized eggs with a 175 ml of yogurt with 1/4 cup of granola and a piece of fruit after dinner.

Secondly, it’s just as (and even more) important to make sure that what you eat is a SMART snack, rather than just filling yourself with empty calories. The snacks you choose should be nutrient dense, that is, contain a good source of protein, complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, and/or vitamins …for relatively few calories. For example – snacking on fruits, vegetables, lean proteins or dairy is a much smarter choice than refined carbohydrates, heavily processed foods, and sweets. This may seem pretty intuitive to most people, but you really cannot underestimate the value of a minimally processed, nutrient dense food on your baby’s health and growth, as well as yours. It’s also often a lot easier said than done when your battling cravings, tired or stressed – but trust me… you will feel so much more energy and keep your weight in check with a SMART choice!

Part of being a smart snacker also means making sure each snack contains at least 2 different food groups. For example, instead of a just a handful of baby carrots to snack on, dip it in some hummus for a protein kick that will leave you feeling more full for longer. Or swap those pretzels for whole grain crackers and add some tuna for a well rounded snack containing a complex carb and lean protein (not to mention a good source of omega-3’s!). Overall, ensuring at least 2 different food groups per snack means more of a guarantee that you will be consuming a wider variety of nutrients to sustain your pregnancy, help you feel more full, speed up your metabolism and give you the energy you need to go on with your day!

Feel free to contact me for an list of healthy snack ideas that will fit within these guidelines!

In the meantime, try this recipe for a healthy hummus to pair with your favourite veggies or whole grain pita – make ahead and use all week!

5 minute Hummus Dip

5 tablespoons water
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup tahini (roasted sesame seed paste)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained (try Blue Menu no salt added brand)
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/2 teaspoon paprika (optional)
Fresh chopped flat-leaf parsley (optional)
1 tablespoon pine nuts, toasted (optional)

1. Place first 7 ingredients in a food processor; process until smooth, scraping sides as necessary. Spoon hummus into a bowl. Sprinkle with paprika, parsley, and pine nuts, if desired

Happy snacking!

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